Reviving Elegance: Rhubarb Seating’s Bespoke Banquette Seating for Olympic Cinema’s Members Club at Battersea Power Station

Rhubarb Seating has a long-standing partnership with one of the world’s largest manufacturers of auditorium, cinema, education, and sports spectator seating. They approached the company regarding a project with Olympic Cinemas. Plans for their Members Club, a private lounge area for the new cinema in the Battersea Power Station, were being drawn up and they needed someone to design and make bespoke banquette seating.

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Hidden away next to the cinema, this is the relaxed and luxurious bar and dining room where members eat, drink, socialise, and relax. They wanted seating which would maximise the space, provide a cosy and private escape for members, and compliment the high quality and opulent look and feel of the club.

The biggest challenge for Rhubarb was that from receiving the initial brief during the first week in May, there was less than a month to design, build and install 15 metres of seating to be ready for the client’s soft opening date on 31 May.

Working closely with Lisa Burdge, Co-Owner of Olympic Studios, Rhubarb’s Design Director quickly developed the original drawings of the banquette configuration provided by the project design team into a final design, taking into consideration comfort and functionality. The Rhubarb team discussed and advised the client on leather options and Crest Cromwell Sahara was the choice – a beautiful full grain aniline leather, with a butter-soft finish.  A modular approach was very deliberately chosen for the build which enabled the maximisation of the space in the club area but also meant Rhubarb had the flexibility to adjust the configuration when it was discovered at the install, the day before the soft opening, that a wall had appeared which had not been on the original plans!  

The leather hide, with its neutral but warm tone gives the whole area a timeless and sophisticated look, with the luxury comfort and durability needed for a setting which will see high use. The oak-effect wooden plinths created a natural aesthetic, and Rhubarb worked with on-site electricians to ensure the wiring for the plinth power sockets aligned seamlessly, enabling members to work as well as relax and socialise in the space.

Comfort, quality, luxury and style were of key importance to the client on this project.  The advantage to them of working with Rhubarb was not only that the company’s end-to-end control over the entire design and production enabled the team to deliver to a very tight deadline but also that the in-house design and manufacturing capabilities allowed them to talk through the drawings, fine tune production, advise on finishes and be a true partner in the whole process.

Rhubarb’s expertise in seating, alongside their bespoke design and upholstery skills, meant they could overcome the challenges of maintaining consistent seam lines across multiple curved modular units, and ensure a high-quality finish. They accommodated room layout changes and specific delivery slots to the listed building’s designated loading bay and liaised with the client to accommodate installation around other third parties working on-site. 

All-in-all, the team felt they lived up to the company’s strap line – Seating made Great in Britain – and fulfilled the promises made when Rhubarb first started twelve and a half years ago:

  • To put customers at the heart of everything and to exceed expectations of product, service and quality
  • Never to compromise on the quality and integrity of the product
  • To create seating and furniture solutions that respect the needs of the human frame and reduce problems arising from poor posture

Lisa Burdge, Co-Founder of Olympic Studios:

“Rhubarb Seating have been a pleasure to work with on this project. We needed bespoke banquette seating for our Members Club lounge area and Rhubarb came highly recommended to us. We were impressed by the service we received, from the initial design consultation, to fabric advice, through to the really quick three week delivery turnaround to meet our soft opening. The quality of the seating is fantastic and we are so pleased with how it looks in the space. The team went above and beyond to ensure they met our delivery deadline. Nothing was too much trouble, and I would highly recommend the whole team at Rhubarb.”

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About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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